The Coconut palm, known scientifically as Cocos nucifera, is a species that is part of the Palm family, which is known as Palmaceae. There are over 1,500 different species within this family. The Coconut palm is part of the Cocos genus. It is a polygamomonoecious plant, which means that its female and male flowers appear on the same inflorescences (flower clusters).
The Coconut palm is a big palm tree, and can grow to be about 98 feet in height. Its pinnate leaves are generally between 13 and 19 feet in length. It bears the coconut (also spelled cocoa nut), which is a big nut that has white flesh and is commonly cooked or consumed raw. There are many different culinary uses for the Coconut palm.
The Coconut palm requires warm weather conditions in order to thrive. High humidity levels are also necessary for Coconut palms to be able to grow successfully. Sandy soils are preferable. The Coconut palm is very tolerant toward salinity. It prefers regions that have frequent rainfall and plenty of sunlight.
Diseases and Pests
As with any plant, there are various diseases to which Coconut palms are more susceptible. One particularly notable disease is Lethal Yellowing, which is a phytoplasma disorder. The Maypan cultivar of the Coconut palm has been bred to be resistant to this disease. Pests to which Coconut palms are prone include Lepidoptera larvae (moth and butterfly), coconut leaf beetles (Brontispa longissima) and eriophyid coconut mites.
Coconut water is a significant use of the Coconut palm. The cavity of the nut is comprised of coconut water, which, until opened up, is sterile. Coconut water contains antioxidants, fiber, proteins, minerals and vitamins, and is a nutritious source of food. Throughout warm and humid tropical regions, coconut water is used as a beverage.
The leaves of the Coconut palm have various different commercial applications and uses. They can be woven together to produce roofing materials, such as reed mats. In India, the leaves are used for broom-making. Dried leaves can be burned into ash, and then harvested for the fruit lime. The leaves also offer roofing thatch and basket material.